Mami is what Filipinos call Chinese-style noodle soup with vegetables, meat, chicken or wontons. The term is said to have been coined by Ma Wen-lu, a Chinese immigrant who arrived in the Philippines around 1918. He peddled chicken noodle soup on the streets of Manila then later built Ma Mon Luk, a restaurant that survives to this day.
There is no universal recipe for making mami because it is, for the most part, simply an assembled dish. Here’s how we prepare pork mami at home.
First, the broth is, of course, home made.
The egg noodles are cooked in boiling water, drained and placed directly in bowls.
The sliced meat is arranged on one side of the bowl and the blanched vegetables on the other. Cabbage and carrot are usually paired for mami but Chinese broccoli in lieu of cabbage is a good choice too.
When everything is neatly assembled in the bowl, the simmering broth is poured in.
A few extras are thrown in to add more depth to the flavors of the noodle soup. Scallions and toasted garlic are the most popular garnishes. I like fried shallots and cilantro.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 kilogram roasting pork (belly or shoulder) in one piece
- ½ to ¾ cup soy sauce (how much depends on the saltiness of your brand of soy sauce or whether you’re using light or dark soy sauce)
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 peppercorns
- 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 one-inch knob ginger
- 1 whole garlic
- 1 whole onion
Cook the pork
- Prick the meat with a fork in several places.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large heavy pan.
- Lightly brown the pork, rolling it in hot oil to brown all sides evenly.
- Pour enough water to reach about half the height of the pork.
- Pour in the soy sauce and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer the pork for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on its thickness.
- Flip the pork halfway through the cooking time.
- Lift the pork out of the liquid and cut thinly.
Assemble the pork mami
- Heat the bone broth to simmering.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain and divide among four bowls.
- Cut the cabbage into half-inch slices.
- Using a kitchen spider, blanch the carrot and cabbage in the broth for about a minute.
- Arrange the carrot, cabbage and pork around the noodles in the bowls.
- Pour in hot broth.
- Garnish with fried shallots and cilantro (or sliced scallions).
- Serve the pork mami at once.